Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Harm, change and unpredictability: the ethics of interviews in conflict research

Kostovicova, Denisa ORCID: 0000-0002-6243-4379 and Knott, Eleanor ORCID: 0000-0002-9131-3939 (2022) Harm, change and unpredictability: the ethics of interviews in conflict research. Qualitative Research, 22 (1). 56 - 73. ISSN 1468-7941

[img] Text (Harm, change and unpredictability: the ethics of interviews in conflict research) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (141kB)

Identification Number: 10.1177/1468794120975657


Conceiving of interviews as relationships of knowledge-creation involving a researcher and a research participant, we engage with the ethical implications of the unpredictabilities of this relationship when conducting research in conflict and post-conflict contexts. Through a conservative application of the precautionary principle that prohibits change of all involved in the research process, presuming change (always) implies harm, scholars to date have overlooked the ethical challenges that stem from the unpredictability of the interview method. In turn, this perspective has limited our ability to capture and mitigate possible forms of harm, undermining the legitimacy and appropriateness of existing ethical guidelines. We argue for a deliberative and iterative approach to understandings of harm and harm thresholds in interview research. This argument draws on recent debates on the precautionary principle in natural sciences which address the unpredictabilities of research, allowing us to think about change in ways that is ethical.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2020 11:24
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2022 08:18

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics